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choices

It’s Never Been Like This Before

“Listen, all who live in the land. In all your history, has anything like this happened before?” (Joel 1:2)

In the book of Joel, a horrific, never-ending invasion of locusts devastated Judah. The locusts just kept coming and eating until all crops were destroyed, animals were starving, and people didn’t think they could take any more.

Have you ever felt the same way? Have you ever been devastated? Maybe not by locusts, but in a such a way that you knew nothing would be the same again?

What do we do when our world is turned upside down?

When Joel’s world was out of kilter, he turned to God. In times of devastation, we have a decision to make. We can wonder where God is in all the madness and turn away from him. Or we can double down on our relationship with God, cling to him with all our might, and seek his face in the midst of our circumstances.

Joel 3:14 intrigues me. It says, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”  This verse can be applied on many levels, but let’s talk about what it means in our day-to-day lives.

We are part of a great drama involving an epic battle. We have a deadly enemy who actively seeks our destruction, who wants to devour us like a lion chomps down a zebra. On the other side there is a Savior who wants to rescue us from the darkness and fill our lives with light. This battle rages around us constantly.

The most important question of our lives is, whose side are we on? We must choose sides. There is no Switzerland here, no neutral area. Who do we serve? In the words of Bob Dylan, “you gotta serve somebody.” If we think we are neutral, we’re deceived.

One day, God will judge us based on whom we serve. This is the fulcrum of our lives, the choice upon which everything else rests.

Y’all, the valley of decision isn’t the place where people make decisions. It’s the place where God decides and decrees our eternal fate based on whom we served. In the valley of decision, God’s enemies are judged, and his people rewarded.  

What does this mean in our everyday lives? It means when all is right with our world, we serve God. When we face devastation, we turn to God. In every circumstance and every situation, in good times and bad, our devotion lies with God. Our hope remains in God. Locusts ? We serve God. Viruses? Yes, we still serve God. When the world goes mad, our allegiance to God remains steadfast. And when we stand in the valley of decision, we’ll be eternally grateful to be on the Lord’s side.

Dear God, I choose you. I give you my whole heart and I want to serve you with everything I have. In good times or bad, I will serve you. I want to spend eternity in heaven, enjoying your presence forever. Fill me with your light and your love. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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